How much is my car worth? A guide to being in the know

15-Sep-2015
Author: Tony Lucas

If you are currently in the market to sell, you may be asking yourself some tough questions. What is my car worth? How can I make sure I’m getting a good deal? What steps can I take to maximise its value?

Sourcing realistic car valuations, which accurately reflects a vehicle’s true worth, can be a complex process. But you don’t have to leave it to guesswork.

Simply knowing where to turn to get good advice makes all the difference.
So where can you find out the true market rate for your car, a reliable price guide and valuation?

Calculating value

First the bad news. If you bought the car from new then, according to the AA, on average it will lose 60% of its value after three years. The good news though is that it’s not a hard and fast rule - some cars retain more of their value than others.

So it’s important for owners to know what factors influence residual value We've put together a guide to understanding what affects your car's value the most, and how to value your car when you’re ready to part ways.

Your car is unique, and so your valuation should also be unique. The exact make and model, how old is it, the engine size, if it is petrol or diesel - all of these factors have an impact on how much your car is worth.
Of course that is just the start point.

Detailed specific information such as accurate mileage, service history, leather seats or a panoramic sunroof - even the colour can be a factor.

Some models, because of popularity, quality or other factors, simply retain their value better than others. Take the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. The resale value is strong, it is expected that it will retain 49% of the purchase price after three years and 30,000 miles of driving.

So how do you establish your car’s true worth?

The days of pouring over ‘in-the-know’ trade books to work out how much your car is worth are gone. Today the Internet is full of information, and specific websites, to help you pin down the true net worth of your pride and joy.

Internet resources

Search engines are ideal sources of information. Many thousands of cars, with every possible factor recorded, are now listed in powerful databases. This accumulated data can provide very accurate valuations for every make and model.

Well-established sources include:

Glass’s

Autotrader

Parkers

What Car?

RAC

– and there are many others. All these sites provide a valuation service for free, based on year and mileage. However, if you want a personalised and very accurate valuation then, for a small fee, you can add detailed information about your car to receive a personal valuation.

Or course a vehicle’s valuation does not mean that you can realise this amount. If used as a trade in, a dealer will offer less than the true value, as they need to resell to make a profit, but at least you will go into negotiations knowing the true value of your car.

How can I maximise the value of my car?

Firstly, you must look at your car with complete emotional detachment. To you it is may be the best example of its kind ever built, but to a dealer it’s simply another car – maybe slightly better or worse than the last 10 they have seen.

However, there is a crucial factor that makes a big difference – a comprehensive, fully documented service history. Have you had the car serviced by an official dealership, on time and every time? If not, the part-exchange valuation will be marked down heavily.


Cars with a consistent service and MoT history generally sell for 10% more than those without proper documentation. So ensure that you keep an accurate record of all service and spare parts receipts. Peace of mind is important for potential buyers, and they will pay for a car in good condition with a verifiable history.
But how good is good condition? Take a really close look at your car – and we mean from a few inches away. Do you see any little scratches that you never really noticed before? Check the wheels – are there any kerb scrapes on the alloys, or tyre damage?


Servicing aside, a clean and well-maintained car, without scratches and scuffs, will always sell for a higher price. A little more care in parking and manoeuvring really will pay dividends in the long run.
If you take time to fix minor problems, and present the car in a clean and tidy state, you will be surprised how this helps secure a better valuation. This way you won’t be shocked at the dealer’s offer, and you’ll be better placed to negotiate a fair figure. And because you have a better grasp of car valuation, you’ll have a realistic figure in mind when it comes to buying your next car.

 

 

 

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